If you remember, recently we enrolled imaginary activist Esbyssius Fairweather on the now 40 million strong membership list of campaigning organisation Avaaz, but being politically confused (about climate change) she then demanded to leave, shouting ‘Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck off’ at a proposal to stop an oil baron being in charge of climate policy.
Well, now she’s glad she couldn’t leave (she couldn’t leave by the way) because an issue has arisen that demands the clout of an organisation as far ahead of the game in influence terms as Avvaz is. The issue? Bullying using your clothes (shirt and trousers) as weapons.
The above is Dr Matt Taylor, scientist on the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission – who’s become something of a star himself during mission press conferences. But look closely and you’ll not only see depictions of semi-clad glamour girls on his shirt, you’ll also see he’s not wearing any trousers [we’ve blacked out the offending regions of his body].
This is the type of behaviour that makes many women wary of astrophysics and related space science. But is it anything new?
No. You’d think so, or hope so – but no. A visit to the National Gallery sadly confirms that – on the dehumanising images front, at least – it’s been going on a long time. For example, while Da Vinci was careful to humanise the women subjects of his paintings by naming them, Palma Vecchio would put his brush down, lean back in his chair, legs splayed peacock wide, and with a Dapper Laughs sneer of rape-culture disregard proudly declare:
So perhaps now it’s time, after 500 years, to make a stand. Please head over to Avaaz and sign the petition:
Yes, but isn’t GDP itself just a tool of the Patriarchy and if Matt Taylor’s shirt is a threat to the existing economic hegemony, isn’t that a good thing? I’m confused.
If you think Palma Vecchio represents Renaissance decadence at its worst, you should see what his great nephew, Palma Giovane, got up to, in the National Gallery, the Fitzwilliam museum Cambridge, and no doubt many other venues.
But frankly I can’t see what the fuss is about. In the photo of the scientist you reproduce, his nipples are well covered. Are there other photos we’re not allowed to see?